How Many Barbados Restaurants Will the ’09 Recession Kill Off?

How Many Barbados Restaurants Will the ’09 Recession Kill Off?

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People getting together try to keep conversation light, but invariably the talk comes ’round to, “Is (fill in the blank) in trouble?”

I knew it was a bad sign the other night when I walked down St Lawrence Gap and saw The Restaurant at South Sea closed at dinnertime.  Is South Sea in trouble? I’ve heard that a local company that has been supporting the elegant, award-winning seaside restaurant in St Lawrence Gap recently stopped its funding and patronage in this economic slump can’t carry the eatery’s costs.  The restaurant’s web site is down, today at least. I called the restaurant; reservations are being taken and the restaurant will be closed, as it usually is, the month of September. I’m hopeful but not optimistic.

I’ve been told that Calabaza is having trouble, too.  I love that place, with its Moroccan architecture and gorgeous west coast sea views.

When I mentioned to my brother-in-law Patrick that there might be trouble at his favorite restaurants, he gasped, “What? Where shall we feed?”

Patrick’s drama is warranted, for there are other mutterings.  Whisperings tell me that Whispers on the Bay (Carlisle Bay) is in trouble. Its web site is also down today. Too bad; people give it great reviews.  A well-known chef told me that the famous Cliff is seeing about 40% of its usual business for this time of year.

Speaking of 40% … Sandy Lane, the posh resort on Barbados’ west coast, is offering deals on its accommodations amounting to 39% off.  Wow, if there were anything in the world I thought I could count on it’s the sun’s rising … and Sandy Lane’s lofty prices for great-but-not-that-great accommodations.

Actually, truth is is that one doesn’t stay at Sandy Lane because the accommodations are so fantastic. One stays at Sandy Lane because the prices exclude the riff-raff.  And it still probably does, as the prices, even with reductions, start at $800US nightly, for a room without a sea view.

A street vendor who sells her fabulous barbecued chicken, rice, and macaroni pie along St Lawrence Gap told me that couples used to buy without asking the price.  Now they’re asking the price … and then sharing one dinner between them.

With all the bad economic news, it’s great to see that when economics takes one away, another optimistically springs forth.

I got a flyer today for a place called Green Snapper in the Worthing Court Hotel, serving Bajan favorites at lunch (noon-2:30) like steamed flyig fish, coo-coo, and green banana for $16Bds ($8US).  Good luck to them; I’ll definitely try some take-out, even though my palate is still adapting to local specialties like coo-coo.

Also good news: the Aqua space may have a new tenant soon, with a dining concept that is “casual and fun,” according to an owner of the Aqua building.  I hope it’s soon; the empty building, sitting so quietly alongside our busy boardwalk, looks as hopeful for new beginnings as a puppy at the pound.

Some are coping by tweaking while times are tough:  Josef’s, one of my favorites on the island and right next door to us at St Lawrence Beach Condominiums, is downsizing its menu, offering a fixed-price short menu through the summer.

Fortunately, the romance of being cantilevered over the softly lit sea at Josef’s is still complimentary with every meal … and worth more than any amount of money can buy, recession be damned.



2 Responses to “How Many Barbados Restaurants Will the ’09 Recession Kill Off?”

  1. X says:

    Were you perhaps walking by South Sea on Sunday when they are generally closed. It’s a bit reckless to be perpetuating rumors like these because it has a negative effect on the businesses that may be struggling but are certainly not going out of business. Not many people want to dine at a restaurant that is rumored to be going out of business because they expect that the quality will be suffering.

    I have it on good authority that, while business is slow, South Sea is not going out of business.

  2. Thanks for this, X. I appreciate hearing from you and happy that you have it “on good authority” that South Seas is healthy. I don’t present anything as fact unless I know it to be so. I present murmurings here solely as illustration of “sign of the times,” which are not good at the present time.

    I love South Sea and am proud to have a first-class, award-winning restaurant like it on St Lawrence Gap. In fact, when I called each place I mentioned in this post, I ended up making reservations there for mid-June. I also confirmed with them that they’ll be closed, as is usual for them, the month of September. I truly hope this is the only lengthy period of time they’ll be closed.

    I’m grateful for forums such as this so that thoughts, beliefs, feelings – as well as “just talk” – can be aired. It’s healthier, in my view, to express these things openly than to let them percolate beneath the surface where too often they spread like a virus.

    Please, bring on corrections! That way we’ll learn the truth of what’s happening.

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